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The Human Security of Endangered Peoples: Indigenous Groups Living in Isolation and First Contact

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the situation of indigenous peoples in isolation, and the threats and challenges that they face. The focus is on Latin America, where nearly all such groups live, in Amazonia and in the Paraguayan and Bolivian Gran Chaco. The discussion notes the varied responses of states, from recognition of the issue in domestic law to controversy and disagreements over whether such groups exist. Despite the variety of legal responses, the challenges and dangers to indigenous peoples in isolation tend to be the same: the gradual but persistent invasion of their territories; legal and illegal exploitation of the natural resources essential to their survival; and illnesses and epidemics that come with the incursions. In international law, recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples has expanded considerably in recent years, despite the fact that most early human rights treaties are individualistic in approach and do not mention indigenous peoples.

Keywords: Amazonia; Bolivian Gran Chaco; human rights treaties; indigenous peoples; international law; Latin America; Paraguayan



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